Wednesday, March 21, 2007

Ethical Destination Weddings: Saying 'I Do' With a Clear Conscience - Tip #4 Ecological Ceremonies & Receptions

The term ‘responsible tourism’ has been used to describe tourism that is not only fun for visiting tourists, but also gives back to the world and local community by protecting nature and contributing to the lives of local people. This series of blogs will give you tips on how to contribute to the Mexican culture and economy, while preserving its beautiful land and ecological sites.

Tip #4 – Ecological Ceremonies & Receptions

Having an ecologically-sound destination wedding ceremony and reception is easy to do. With a little bit of thought and planning you can reduce much of the waste that weddings often produce. To help you in this process, we’ve put together list of ideas:

  1. Use recycled paper for wedding invitations and thank you cards.
  2. Reduce electricity – keep your wedding and reception as natural as possible. Unless absolutely necessary, avoid additional lighting, sound systems, slide projectors, or any other energy-sucking equipment. Get married during the day when there’s sunlight, or use torches and candles for lighting at night.
  3. Use local flowers that don’t need to be shipped in. Ask your wedding planner which flowers are local to the area.
  4. Reuse flowers from bouquets and the wedding ceremony to decorate the dinner receptions and the honeymoon suite.
  5. Give your guests flower petals to throw instead of plastic bottles of bubbles that will likely go in the garbage.
  6. Release baby turtles instead of butterflies. In certain parts of Mexico at certain times of the year, baby turtles are released into the ocean as a preservation effort. This is a good alternative to butterflies because although beautiful, they are not indigenous to some areas of Mexico and releasing foreign species into the ecosystem is never a good idea (for more information about butterflies and weddings, visit the North American Butterfly Association’s website at
  7. If your hotel has minibars in the rooms, deliver leftover wedding cake to your guests. This way, you won’t waste all that delicious cake!
  8. Ecological favors for guests – try to give out recycled favors or favors that won’t just be thrown out. Here are some suggestions:
    • Reusable Water Bottles – Your guests will be drinking plenty of water during their whole trip, and by giving reusable water bottles you will keep hundreds of empty plastic bottles from being dumped in the garbage. If your hotel serves purified water, you can ask your waiter to refill your bottle before you head out on day trips.
    • Biodegradable Sunscreen – This is particularly good for swimming, snorkeling, and diving because it doesn’t upset the marine ecosystem.
    • Tours - Set up a tour or excursion for the group using a local tour company.
    • Donate to Charity - Donate $1-2 per guest to a local Mexican charity. For a list of Mexican charities, see

If you can think of more ecologically sound ceremony and reception ideas, please share your thoughts with us!

Ethical Destination Weddings: Saying 'I Do' With a Clear Conscience

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